The Welcoming Communities Coalition conducted a survey last year to look at how we can enhance newcomer well-being in our communities.
One of the questions we asked is how often newcomers experience feelings of isolation. We learned that many respondents have feelings of isolation all the time (35%) or often (17%).
Since July 11 is Cheer Up The Lonely Day, we want to share a few of the suggestions from the City of Burnaby’s guide on how to make newcomers feel genuinely welcome: 100+ Ways to Welcome – Ideas for Residents.
- Show your respect, kindness and friendship by learning some common phrases in a newcomer’s language or by offering flowers or vegetables from your garden
- Show your willingness to help by being a newcomer’s contact in case they need something – they might not have anyone – or by offering to practice English with them
- Share community programs and resource information such as how services like garbage collection and dog licenses work
- Help newcomers get familiar with the community and neighbourhood by inviting them to community events or offering a tour of the neighbourhood
- Improve your understanding of immigrants and their culture by talking to them about the culture and background of their home country and by acknowledging news and events happening in home countries
- Share your immigration experience if you are an immigrant
- Support immigrant youth and kids by encouraging your children to talk and play with newcomers in their class or by assisting teachers to organize field trips or activities where students can learn about different cultures
- Share information and tips for daily life such as local medical services (dentists, walk-in clinics) and postal services such as mail forwarding
- Support newcomers with their housing and accommodation by helping an immigrant family find their first accommodation and how to fill out needed forms
- Support newcomers with application and registration processes such as school registration, employment services, MSP, internet, and phone services
- Self-educate to better assist new immigrants by collecting information about immigrant services and passing it along to newcomers in need. The Immigrant Welcome Centre offers many of the above services, including information for daily living, help with housing, and support with application and registration processes. Please share our services with newcomers to the North Island to help them feel more welcome.